Give your PRESENCE, not just presents this season.

This year we have been very device focussed. Our homes have become our workplaces and work technology has followed us right into our loungerooms and dinner tables. While these tools have allowed us to work from home, we’ve not had the kind of routine we used to; a routine which tells us when to switch on and switch off and a routine which divides work life from home life.

A lot of us have found it hard to switch off. After all, we carry our devices everywhere we go these days. They are small enough to fit into our pockets and they ping and ring often. We’ve learnt to expect instant information – instant gratification – and when we don’t get it, we stress. We’ve learnt to be permanently busy, waiting for notifications from our devices.

For some people, being device-connected means being people-disconnected. Sometimes we might all be in the same house or even the same room, but we’re all occupying separate digital worlds. I often wonder why it’s so much easier for those people to disconnect from their families than their devices.

Technology is fantastic for helping people build or maintain relationships with people around the world, but what is it doing to your relationships with the people beside you? With your friends and family?

The holiday season just around the corner, now is a good time to step back and take a good look at where your attention lies. To do that you need to put down your device and disconnect from technology so you can reflect without interruption.

Where does your attention lie?

Do you really notice the people around you? Do you have conversations? If you ask, “How’s things?” on your way past someone, do you actually stop and listen for an answer or it is just a formality or greeting? How long is it since you truly connected with the people who are important to you?

It’s easy to go out and buy a Christmas present for your partner and family members but giving a present doesn’t show love as much as giving your presence does. How do you feel when someone stops to listen to you? Asks about your life and listens to what you say? You feel a warmth and a connection, don’t you? Wouldn’t it be great to share that warmth and connection with the people you love?

How lucky are you to have people who care about you and people you can love right back? Remember, you can back up your data and replace your device. You can’t backup and replace the people you love. Show them how much they mean to you.

This year put down your devices and connect with those you love the most – it is the best gift you can give them.

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